10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time!
Matthew sat at his desk, waiting for his ginger tea bag to steep in the boiling hot water contained in his mug. He thought it was quite ironic that whilst his cup said ‘COFFEE TIME, MOTHERFUCKER!!’, he was soon to be enjoying a ginger tea.
Today was just like every other day, he arrived in the office, said ‘hello’ to the staff in his immediate vicinity, and then went through his daily ritual of turning on his computer, logging onto the network, and slowly trawling through all the emails that he’d received since leaving yesterday afternoon.
It wasn’t even nine a.m. and his eyes were already beginning to glaze over, and he realised that he simply couldn’t face an entire day of sitting at his desk, feeling like this.
Matthew sat back, looked around for a moment, and stood up out of his chair. He slipped on his linen blazer, and grabbing his laptop, notepad and pen under one arm, he grabbed his ginger tea with his free hand, and headed down the corridor. ‘Fuck this!’, he thought to himself, ‘time for some fresh air!’ As he strolled past the reception desk, with his nose in the air, he called out to the receptionist, ‘Malorie, I’m out for the next hour or so, hold all my calls‘, and disappeared through the doorway.
Stepping out of the building, he felt the sunshine on his face, and he was already enjoying himself so much more. He paused to take a deep breath of fresh air, and continued down the street, turning a few corners before a small park in the middle of a pocket of houses appeared in front of him. He found a small patch of lush green grass to sit on, and instantly removed his shoes and socks, and walked around momentarily, feeling the cool grass on the bottom of his bare feet, tickling in between his toes. It was one of Matthew’s favourite feelings in the whole world.
He wandered around for a couple of minutes, before peeling off his blazer, and using it to sit on, as he opened his laptop and began working on one of his spreadsheets.
After almost an hour, Matthew looked at his watch, sighing in disappointment as his hour of sunshine was due to end soon, and he’d have to return to the office, with it’s artificial lighting, plastic plants and air conditioning that he secretly thought was making everybody sick. He was just about to stand up when a shadow appeared over his shoulder, across his screen.
Matthew turned around to see a tall dark gentleman standing behind him. Shielding his eyes from the glaring sunshine, his eyes focused on this rather handsome man. Their eyes met, and Matthew’s eyes immediately followed the square contours of his face out to his rather broad shoulders and well fitted shirt, and immediately, Matthew was beginning to imagine what this guy looked like without his shirt on.
‘Uhh, Hi.’ Matthew replied, wondering if this handsome stranger was capable of constructing a sentence.
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you.’
‘Oh, that’s okay, I was just getting ready to go back to the office. Thought I’d get out for a bit and do some work in the sunshine.’
‘Oh, cool. So, you work around here?’
‘Yeah, I’m just a couple of streets away. I work on Greendale.’
‘Ahh, nice and close. Well, I guess you’ve discovered my park!’
‘Huh? Your park?’
‘Yeah, I’m usually here all the time, and it’s usually just me. It’s kinda like my own little secret… well, unless some of the local mums bring their kids here, then it’s like my noisy secret.’
They both looked at each other and smiled. Matthew let out a small laugh, and looked down at the ground feeling somewhat shy.
‘I’m Robert, by the way’, he said outstretching his hand.
‘Matthew! Nice to meet you!‘, he said, ensuring to give a rather solid handshake.
‘That’s a firm grip you got there, mate!’, Robert said with a slight wink in his eye.
Matthew could feel his face going slightly red. ‘Well, I hate to be rude, but I really do have to go… maybe I’ll catch you here again another day?‘, he said, picking up his belongings. ‘Have a good one!‘, he said over his shoulder, and he walked rather quickly down the path back to the street.
Robert couldn’t get the smile off his face. He looked around, and then noticed something on the ground. ‘COFFEE TIME, MOTHERFUCKERS’.